Article marketing is a fairly new form of self promotion that has quickly become mainstream. It allows writers and internet marketers to promote their books, products, ideas, etc. to a virtually endless market at minimal cost. I say "minimal" instead of "at no cost" because there is the value of the writer's time involved, as well as the need for a computer, internet access, etc.
Article marketing is a give-and-take proposition between website owners and writers. Website owners need content, endless streams of content. Why? Usually because they place ads on each page of content. Site owners either sell the ad space or share ad revenues from companies such as Google. The greater number of pages a site has, the more ads it can host. Writers, on the other hand, who produce the content, can benefit in several ways: name recognition, shared ad income, and back links.
When a writer and/or internet marketer is building a name for him/herself or business, visibility is important. Each article adds a little more visibility. Because many articles stay online for years, the value of each article adds up. When pairing with some sites, writers can benefit monetarily, either through direct payment, or as a partner in ad revenue. Further, writers can, depending upon the site, include back links to their own site, either in the body of the article itself, or in the author's resource box. When trying to improve one's online rankings, back links can turn to gold.
An important strategy for writers to follow when trying to improve their visibility and generate backlinks, is to carefully choose the subject matter for the articles. If you are a pet shop owner, for instance, trying to grow your business, writing travel articles won't be as helpful as writing articles about pet-care.
If you choose to implement an article writing campaign, remember this: you will be judged by the quality and content of your writing. If you write spammy, self-promoting articles that deliver no value to your readers, they will take note and judge you accordingly. If, on the other hand, you provide helpful information for your readers, if you help them solve a problem, answer a question, or fill a need, you will be considered a valuable resource.
For those business people who see the value in creating an article marketing campaign, but who lack writing skills, hiring a freelance writer can be a valuable business decision. When hiring a freelance writer, you usually pay a small, one-time fee and you retain all future rights to the article, including revenue sharing rights and the right to use the article over and over. Elance.com, Guru.com and Odesk.com are three popular sites to connect with freelance writers.